With the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft the Flyers are bound to find a really good player. One such player is Mikko Rantanen.
Rantanen is projected as a mid first round pick, so picking him at seven might be a bit of a reach. However, it could be a smart move for the Flyers to see if trading back to 10-12 is possible in order to pick up Rantanen at a place where he fits right in. The first thing that catches the eye of anyone who watches Rantanen play is his size, at the age of 18, he’s already 6’4″ 211 lbs which makes him a physically imposing player to begin with. He also has one nice set of hands. His World Junior highlights were pretty impressive too. Now moving forward, small samples aside, let’s try to project what Rantanen could do at the NHL level.
Based off Vollman’s model, Rantanen right now is good for .15 points per game or 12 points per 82, but that would be as a 19 year old in the NHL, thanks to the CBA, not only could the Flyers slide his contract, but they could bring him over to the AHL, like they did with Robert Hagg and adapt him to the NHL style of the game before deploying him in the NHL on year one of his Entry Level Contract during his age 20 or 21 season.
There’s a well known player who had a similar scoring output in Finland, and he’s kind of well known right now: Teuvo Teravainen. Teuvo had a .45 point per game output his draft season in Finland, and was a .33 point per game player combined regular season and playoffs for Chicago this season. That’s good for a 30 point season at age 20/21 for Rantanen using the same scoring translation from league to league.
Another player who blossomed after the adjustment was Mikael Granlund. Granlund had a .93 point per game ratio in Finland in his draft year before making the jump to North America during his age 20 season where he was a near point per game player in the AHL before notching .296 points per game in 2013. Of course he jumped to .65 points per game a year later, nearly doubling his point per game output.
With three seasons of data for Rantanen, we can extrapolate his point per game growth by comparing him to Teravainen. Teravainen jumped to .7 points per game after being drafted and .89 2 years after being drafted. Basically he doubled his scoring output in 2 years in Finland. Assuming Rantanen does the same, he’ll be a point per game player in Finland, jumping to the AHL. Teravainen went from .89 points per game in Finland to .61 points per game in the AHL when combining 2013-14 and 14-15 or he kept a .68 point per game pace from the Finland to the AHL.
Keeping Rantanen in the same bracket, he’d go from a point per game player in Finland to .3 points per game in the NHL or 24 points per 82, however, assuming the Granlund jump occurs in year 2, he’d jump into the 48 point range very quickly. Given that he’d be scoring at a borderline first line pace. He would allow Matt Read to play LW full time and form a potent 1-2-3 RW punch with Voracek and Simmonds. Assuming Rantanen hits his scoring prime in his mid 20s like many players, he might pop a few 55-60 point seasons as well, and given his size and puck skill, that’s realistic because he’d find himself getting the needed powerplay to do it.
Between size, skill and math, the Flyers would do well to draft Mikka Rantanen, especially over Lawson Crouse who’s scoring as a sub point per game pace against kids in Junior while Rantanen plays against men in Finland.